Just before the end of the 19th century, the first automobile was brought to Havana from France and according to sources of that time, the artifact would achieve a speed of up to 10 kms per hour (6.2 mph).
Immediately after that, the most aristocratic people started to plan the acquisition of those artifacts capable of surpassing the speed of the most "modern" two-wheeled vehicles drawn by lively horses along the few stone-paved streets of the Cuban capital.
The interest for the first automobile was such that the second one, also imported from France, started to circulate in 1899 with the difference that its motor, more powerful than the above-mentioned one, could produce a speed of about 30 kilometers per hour (18.6 mph).
In just a few years, tens of cars, mainly coming from the United States, started to circulate in other locations of the country.
A model deeply-rooted in Cuba because of its modern design was the Ford T (1908), produced in assembly lines from 1913.
Since the action of oppressing the pedal was called "footing" and the sale promoting advertisings would read "foot it and go", soon the phrase was Cubanized and the word "fotingo" appeared. The word became, and it still is, a very popular denomination for old cars, also known as "almendrones" (big almonds) in the popular argot.
According to the development of the automobile industry, the following years witnessed the appearance in the streets of brand new models, mostly American, but also French or English. However, what no one could have predicted in those days was that Cuba would be invaded by them forever.